Initiated in 2001, the Elbphilharmonie Concert Hall in Hamburg, designed by acclaimed Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron, officially opened on Wednesday 11 January 2017, after 15 years in the making.

From this day, music has started to fill the building. Two celebratory opening concerts inaugurated the main concert hall, at the heart of the complex. This space rises vertically almost like a tent and offers room for 2100 people to congregate for the enjoyment of making and listening to music, with an unprecedented emphasis on the interactive proximity between players and audience. The towering shape of the hall defines the static structure of the building volume and is echoed in the silhouette of the building as a whole. The complex geometry of the philharmonic hall unites organic flow with incisive, near static shape.

The Elbphilharmonie has already become a landmark of the city of Hamburg and a beacon for all of Germany. It will vitalise the neighbourhood of the burgeoning Hafen City, ensuring that it is not merely a satellite of the venerable Hanseatic city but a new urban district in its own right. The public plaza of the Elbphilharmonie has been open since 5 November 2016, with more than 500,000 visitors to date. As a viewing platform open to the public at a height of 37 metres, the Plaza underscores the character of the Elbphilharmonie as a “house for all”.

The first sketches for the concert hall, with its wavy lines on the warehouse foundation, were first put to paper by the Swiss architects in 2001 . In 2003, the Hamburg populace were given their first glimpse of the development plans – and they were thrilled. In 2007, the citizens of Hamburg approved the construction, which began in April 2007. After many problems in the initial phases, the City ofHamburg concluded an agreement for the complete reorganisation of the project at the end of 2012 with construction company Hochtief. The project has progressed on schedule since then. On 31 October 2016, Hochtief handed over the completed Elbphilharmonie to the City of Hamburg.

Hamburg’s Mayor has stated: “The heart of the Elbphilharmonie will begin to beat with the first concert in the Grand Hall. With the Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg has an unmistakable symbol of the great importance that art and culture have in a free society. The construction of the Elbphilharmonie is also an invitation to the world to come and visit Hamburg, and to see this extraordinary concert hall and experience the true power of music.”

 

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